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Primal arrogance and greed: Elon Musk slammed for crypto manipulation

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been criticized for wielding what many perceive to be irresponsible influence over the cryptocurrency market. Musk regularly took to Twitter to post memes and hot takes on various cryptocurrencies throughout most of 2021, not least Bitcoin (BTC) and Dogecoin (DOGE).

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Musk soon added another coin to that list — CumRocket (CUMMIES). CumRocket is described as a “revolutionary deflationary token” aimed towards use by those in the adult film industry.

On June 4 Musk posted a cryptic tweet with three words listed: Canada, USA, Mexico. Observers interpreted this as Musk cheekily writing the word “CUM”, and within hours the price of a little known token called CumRocket more than doubled.

Fast forward 24 hours and Musk was at it again. This time he posted a sequence of emojis which could reasonably be interpreted as “CumRocket to the moon”.

Within just ten minutes, the price of CumRocket jumped from $0.06 to $0.28 — a 366% increase. Predictably, the speculative pump didn’t last for long, and by the time of publication, the CUMMIES token price had fallen back to around $0.07.

One of the first Bitcoin exchange operators, and co-founder of Zap Protocol, Nick Spanos, told Cointelegraph he believes much of Musk’s market-moving activity is designed to appropriate more assets at a cheaper price than he otherwise would have.

“Musk harmed countless people less fortunate than he in his selfish shilling and moves to get cheaper coin,” said Spanos.

The prime example of this, if true, would perhaps be Musk’s announcement that Tesla had purchased $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin, and that the car company would accept BTC for payment. Less than a few weeks later, Musk enacted a swift reversal of sentiment on Bitcoin, which he derided for its environmental impact, and summarily removed it as a payment option on the Tesla website.

Even if Musk just got bored of Bitcoin, his tweets to over 50 million followers amount to recklessness, and an abuse of trust, says Spanos.

“People believe in Bitcoin because it’s a path to monetary independence from central banks, and he’s attacking their trust with reckless tweets and abuse of influence. Instead of being a role model, he is revealing less favorable primal characteristics.”

Musk has previously said he would welcome any investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission into the effect his tweets have had on the crypto market. Spanos said Musk’s arrogance and greed will have to be paid for, whether to the SEC, or anonymous hacker groups such as Anonymous. (Anonymous has since denied responsibility for the video addressed to Elon Musk).

“Arrogance and greed cannot shield him from consequences. If the SEC isn’t going to sanction him for manipulating markets like they did before, perhaps the activists will,” said Spanos.

“It’s not hard to imagine a scenario where people who trust their lives with his technology, could see incidents where that trust maybe even catastrophically ends,” he added.

As reported by the BBC, one woman lost £9,000 ($12,700) in a Bitcoin scam which was falsely presented as an official giveaway by Elon Musk. Such fake giveaways are nothing new in the cryptocurrency space, but would this one have occurred if Elon Musk wasn’t already placing himself at the front and center of the cryptosphere?

Whatever the answer, Spanos believes Musk’s time would be better spent actually using and implementing blockchain technologies, and inventing ways for people to reach his own level of economic freedom.

“If I were Elon, I would be double checking my penetration tests, and spending more time implementing blockchain solutions — and finding ways to help the people rise to their highest level of freedom,” said Spanos.

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